Re: friendly fire

drieux H. (
Tue, 16 Jul 1996 21:18:45 -0400

p1: PTSD remains both a Problem and a Political Football
depending upon whether one is dealing with folks who are
still dealing with the PsychoSocialTechnicalComplications
related to 'life threatening event sequences' and a failure
to address these in a timely manner. There Remains a Hard Corp
of the True Devotees of Nietzche who still consider Warfare to
be an Intrinsically GOOD thing, and hence attribute any manifestation
of PTSD to 'intrinsic character flaws' or simple malingering on the
part of the Alledge Trauma Victims.

PTSD has taken a bit of a down turn as it has become almost a
'social disease' that can now be related to ANY 'unpleasantry'
that one has survived, rather than the minimum criterion laid
down in the DSM IIIR, and now DSM IV. All of which gets complicated
again by the fact that most of the 'advocates' for PTSD cases tend
to be RedKommunistDominatedAgitPropAgents who also seem to consider
'near death' and 'life threatening' event sequences to be a NON_POSITIVE
event, and hence also tend to be disinclined towards warfare in general.

p2: the Generalised Problem of "Blaming Veterans" is a LONG standing
tradition in american culture going back to at least WWI, and has
manifested itself in the usual GLARING Banner Headlines:

"PsychoCrazedWarVet Does Something UnNice."

which is rarely offset by the requisite counterpart:

"PsychoCrazedCivilianStayedAtHomePuke Does Something UnNice."

So far the civilian society Generally Prefers to simply lump all
veterans as a "social neccessity" for which we get to have Glorious
Fire Works Displays that allow the Civilians all to Huddle together
and feel all Warm and Fuzzy about their Patriotic Stand on being
ProWar, when it is a Cool War. While of course the Vets tend to follow
"Mother Earth's" instilled Instinct, and like the cats in the Neighborhood
'take to ground' upon being informed that there are things EXPLODING.

Everyone Loves the Parades, and the WarmFuzzyFeeling about Patriotism,
but no one Really Wants their Daughters to Marry Vets.

So one can read Bill Mauldin's "Brass Ring" to note that the 'post vietnam'
syndrom was around as the 'post wwII' syndrome, and ....

p3: Peter Brush notes that greatest of Traditional Lessons of the
interworking of RedLegs and Grunts, calling in artillery at 'danger close'
ranges. One can go back to Erwin Rommel's works to note that the idea of
working on the 'edge' of an artillery barrage is really not the Great Novelty
of the Vietnam War, but essentially a relatively long standing tactic. So the
Really 'interesting' development that one Might Call 'vietnam novel' was the
rarely used tactic of calling in 'fire support' missions on one's own position
given that one was dug in, and the enemy was out in the Open.

{ It should be noted, for those who missed the 'neutron bomb' debates,
that this tactic had been discussed in the literature in regards to
the use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons, and in particular the great advantage
of the 'neutron bomb' over the ordnance deployed in germany at the time,
as it would allow field commanders to use nuclear weapons against armoured
formations with less concern for creating casualties amongst the forward
echelon elements that would be dug in deep. }

Another tactic that would become popular from the Vietnam War, but owes it's
roots to the introduction of the 'maxim gun' { the first generation of
heavy machine guns } was the trick of sending out small formations with as
much firepower as they could tote, and take on the 'brightly painted savages'
in the bush on behalf of their imperial majesties. What the americans would
do was upgrade this a peg, by sending along an FAO { forward artillery
observer } to co-ordinate artillery fire at 'danger close' ranges - since
the point of the drill was to offer up a small enough unit to flush out
the enemy into a 'killing zone' - where the opposing force would be engaged
by the marvels of technology.

p4: Unlike Peter, I am concerned as much with the 'iconography' as it
leaks out into the civilian society, as with the realities of the trade.

having not seen the film "Courage under Fire" it is a bit frightening to me
IF it is the case that it is as BAD as Ben Friedlander suggests.

It might Help Ben Understand that there is a long standing training mantra:

"You Fuck Up, You'll get someone KILLED."

that has a lingering complication for anyone who has any sense of morality.
A point that seems to be very NOVEL to many civilians, both Pro- and Anti-War
that the vast majority of military personnel happen to be Real Live Human
Beings with 'codes of morality' and many common PsychoSocial Makeups that
are almost like their Civilian Counterparts. So KNOWING that one's failure
has lead to another's Death tends to leave an impression upon the person
that can be up to and including Traumatic. So I hope that this aspect of
the "Humanity" Of Military Personnel was not all that SHOCKING to those
who have seen this film, or have actually met Real Live Vets.

As I started this piece out, the nature of PTSD actually stands on it's
own merits as a complication of sending Real Live Human Beings into
High Stress, LifeDisEnhancingOpportunities, like warfare.

p5: What confuses THIS Generation, and makes it presume 'sole novelty' to
the notion of PTSD is their Unmitigated Gale and self centeredness that they
are the ONLY Generation that has seen the Unpleasantry of Warfare. Yes, it
is TRUE that Vietnam was the first War of the TV Generation, and thus offered
them a chance to be 'vicariously thrilled' by the Unpleasantry of Warfare in
ways that their Parents were unable to get through the 'News Reels' at the
local cinema. It does, also, help that the 'vietnam war' was the first war
with a large and vocal 'anti-war' faction and also as the first war in which
American Troops did NOT bring home a 'coon skin hide' to tack to the wall.

But these really speak MORE to the Civilian Pscyhological Trauma of the
vietnam war, than it does to the 'combat related' problems of Military
Personnel who have been 'engaged' by 'life disenhancing moments' - whether
as complex as the Artillery Barrages of WWI, or as simple as the Petrol
Bomb that recently went off in Saudi Arabia.

p6: The rather Horrid Side Effect of this all is that the American Military
remains captive to the 'kultural myth makers' - most of whom have never
seen a shot fired in ExceptionalUnpleasantry. They Drag out the 'Red Badge
of Courage' - and yet what was Stephen Crane's Combat Experience - Hollywood
Went To War for WWII, and yet most folks who understand the trade find most
of the tales at best amusing in their misdirection.

p7: So like the notion of Gays serving in the Armed Forces, from time to time
the "Sterotypical Iconography" of the American Armed Forces fails to live up
to the Sensational Billing of the Media Mongers. Wow, Who'd Have Thought it!

p8: the alternative of course would be to build an actual kultural
iconography for the New Praetorian Guard, and simply disentangle the
'fighting man' from the civilian population, in very much the same way
that the divergence of cultures between the USA and Australia from their
common 'british' cultural legacy. But such a model, of course, runs
contrary to the notion of the American Military BEING the First Citizen's
Armed Force in the World. Which of course still annoys Civilian Purists
who would LOVE to have some way of gracefully exiting from their Personal
Responsibility to the 'american way' of a Citizen's Armed Force. For me
the Pleasant Irony REMAINS the vietnam war, where it appears to me that
both the Left and Right seem to prefer the mental model of the american
military as the Next Waffen SS willing to do ANYTHING for Victory. But such
has NOT been the american way, and hopefully, it will never BECOME the
american way. All Propoganda about the Vietnam War being taken for the
Sheer PR Blitz that it was, for both Left and Right.